Friday, December 17, 2010
UCLA Intrasquad: Uneven Bars
Video of the Bruins on bars from their recent intrasquad reveals that this is a team lacking star power on the apparatus. Once the perennial force on bars, things have grown a bit stock in Westwood. This year's team does not have the svelte presence of last year's, but they look to be solid across the board. With plenty of girls able to go 9.850 on the event, it will be interesting to see which of the girls will rise to the occasion and really improve their execution, amplitude and swing.
Tauny Frattone is built like a linebacker, but her bar and beam work have an unexpected lightness. Her handstands need to consistently reach vertical if she ever hopes to grow from her alternate role.
Niki Tom, who is very much the stereotypical last puppy in the litter (with the cute wonky-ness), is a bit hyper on bars. While she doesn't rush as much as Abby Stack, her body doesn't have enough extension to break into the 9.9 range. Her jaegar was a bit close, but her dismount was stuck. She certainly won't collapse if put in the lineup, but she isn't someone I'd choose to groom for one of the lineup spots in the Super Six.
In the words of my friend, "someone needs to tell MDLT that it's not her prom night and to keep her legs together." Her hop full is still a bit cray-cray and caught past handstand. Her routine has a signature out-of-control feel and is certainly a lesson in physics, but she tends to be reliable.
Olivia Courtney is more of a bridesmaid than Kerri Strug. When Olivia actually did win the US Classic, Universal Sports went on pretending that Vega did instead of dealing with the anti-charisma of the girl with two first names. If she wants to make a real splash, OC will need to get in touch with her inner Dominique Dawes and attain some amplitude. The skills are impressive, but she needs a bit more Bam! Bam! POW! to come alive.
Olivia is certainly better than Brittani McCullough, whom Val loves to force us to pretend is good on bars. We all love Miss Val and love Brittani's model walk, but her flexed feet and missed handstands are unacceptable. Her chest was seriously low on that dismount. It may take more than a 9.775 or 9.800 from Brittani to stave off Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
If one squints hard enough, Aisha Gerber is Yvonne Tousek. Watching and loving Aisha cause the head and heart to disagree. One shouldn't love the gymnastics-product of a coach who chucks springboards at her girls, but boy are her girls beautiful. Aisha needs to get those legs together and her pak and and stick her dismount. They should keep her in the Nikki Childs leadoff role.
Lichelle Wong is a treat...up until the dismount. Her jaegar is lovely but she needs to find the landing on her double front half. She has continually had trouble sticking the landing in the gym. Lichelle has the opportunity to really grow into the anchor role on this event. (Handstands need to be all the way up a bit more often as well.)
Elyse Hopfner Hibbs looks much improved on bars from her freshman year of 9.7dom, but her dismount was as low and slung out as could be.
Sawa also needs a handstand Nazi on her ass, but she is promising.
Sambam Peszek could get a 9.9 with a stuck dismount (thanks to her name.) The routine is a bit stocky and the swing is uninspired, but every Olympian deserves a half tenth here and there. (Or three tenths, in the case of Dantzscher on beam.)